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Table Manners


Published 1947


Emily Post narrates this traditionally minded film.


Run time 10:07
Producer Christy Associates, Inc.
Sponsor Post (Emily) Institute
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Shotlist

Mrs. Post in her garden in Edgartown, Mass. in floral dress, pearls, white gloves and funny hat. "Most people are at ease in their own homes, but often are confused at a dinner party."
Emily Post says "Manners at the most formal dinner party are exactly the same as they are at home." Rather formal directions in how to eat soup; how to serve meat in a house without a maid; which implements to use in cutting salad and eating fruit; proper use of a finger bowl; the difficulties of eating spaghetti gracefully; how to handle chicken bones and other "unwanted morsels;" and much more. Some examples of bad manners.
Supposedly, this film was made specifically for boys.


table settings Post, Emily
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Reviews

Reviewer: JayKay49 - - March 26, 2012
Subject: Back in the Day
I do remember back in those days the salad was usually served after the entree. That practice faded sometime in the sixties - along with manners in general...courtesy of LBJ's "Great Society".

Reviewer: rjm402 - - December 2, 2007
Subject: Culture and the Media
Emily Post is an icon - and Table Manners best reflects her influence on American culture during those susceptible years prior to the noisy Sixties. The depth of that influence, however, might be exaggerated.

In the 1950s, films and TV were the chief instructors for our behavioral norms. We were taught how to date, how to kiss, how to conduct ourselves in social dilemmas, and mostly, they defined our social expectations. Today, television especially, continues this 'good' work as we are given templates for behavior towards our spouse, our parents, our peers, and our children.

So - how does one explain the strength of social aberrations: crime, drug abuse, sexual attacks, suicide, and violence in varying degrees of intensity since World War II? Although there is a great deal of rationale to support those statistics, certainly we can question the potency of those instructive documentaries such as Table Manners, in shaping the future social behaviors of our youth.
Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - - July 4, 2006
Subject: Well, at least she isn't asking us to keep a protractor handy...
When in the company of others, Emily Post was always certain to act in a fashion respectful of those around her. Proper table etiquette is the focus of this film, and our overly meticulous mentor of manners doesn't miss a chance to impart to viewers virtually every single thing that they supposedly need to know in order to earn recognition as the most urbane person in their social circle. A small group of elegantly dressed young men and women enact the correct and incorrect procedures as Post narrates with a sanguine yet authoritarian tone. It is a little disappointing that Post is never actually shown wielding the various utensils, but it is understandable that the film's producers wanted to depict younger individuals observing the etiquette so that it would not appear as if such formalities are solely the province of older generations. It's nice to know that modern dining in North America is not so rigidly constrained by exorbitant sets of rules.
Reviewer: ERD - - November 23, 2005
Subject: Not as formal
This film is too formal for today's generation.
People should have table manners, but not worry about so many rules to follow.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - July 2, 2005
Subject: Spaghetti and Asparagus anyone?
Another odd little movie in the ÃÂHow to eat rightÃÂ canon that seem to always change from film to film. Ahh, but gentle reader, we get the grand dame of rulemaking herself, Emily Post, doing the narrative, so she SHOULD have the final word on the subject, right?
Well, IÃÂm not sure. We first see her in her garden, lamenting about the fact that the number one concern people have is how to eat properly. She then takes us on a tour of courses, and how to eat each one,
While some of it is practical, others IÃÂve surprised sheÃÂs endorsing. She says itÃÂs perfectly ok to pick up your soup bowl and put your lips to the bowl to sip away, that bread should be buttered in a different way that three films IÃÂve seen disagree with (and hey, where IS the dinner roll plate?). She also, incredibly, says that salad be eaten with a knife and fork, something which totally looks archaic today.
After all that, I guess she realizes she has some time left to kill, so bizarrely, the film jumps to points on how to eat spaghetti (spoon not required!) how to eat asparagus (!!) and finally, eating sticky desserts (napkin dab, napkin dab)
The subjects used in these films look like zombies, especially when theyÃÂre eating soup.. Bzzt, take dainty spoonful, bzzt, put it to mouth.. Bzzt take spoonfulÃÂ.
Reviewer: Marysz - - February 2, 2004
Subject: The genteel way to eat
A group of uncomfortable looking diners demonstrate good table manners as Emily Post advises postwar America in proper table etiquette. We see the proper placement of silverware at a formal dinner party and learn in what order to use it (from the outside in). WeÃÂÃÂre told how to serve ourselves and pass plates at a dinner served ÃÂÃÂwithout a maid.ÃÂÃÂ The diner-demonstrators (all of them women) show us how to hold a knife and fork and how to eat soup from a bowl or a cup. ItÃÂÃÂs interesting to see how much smaller food portions were then. We also learn how to eat fruit with a fork and spoon, gracefully eat spaghetti and use a fingerbowl. Dining ÃÂÃÂdonÃÂÃÂtsÃÂÃÂ are also shown. If you must blow your nose at the table, please make sure ÃÂÃÂyour handkerchief is clean.ÃÂÃÂ And donÃÂÃÂt leave your cigarette butts in the food! Although the filmÃÂÃÂs notes state that this film was made specifically for boys, this was also a time when many first generation Americans from immigrant backgrounds were coming of age. They were anxious to assimilate themselves into American life and were receptive to PostÃÂÃÂs all-American advice. This film has both a prewar and postwar orientation. Etiquette was being democratized. The prewar gentility that Post, with her white gloves, pearls and wonderful old-lady hat represented would be eroded by the casual postwar fifties.
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